WILLIAM Creek - one of Australia's smallest and most isolated settlements - does its day at the races a bit different to most.
But you'd be disappointed if it was any other way, given the journey for most just to get to the tiny town is a true-blue adventure like no other.
It has been said that William Creek - population six - is one of the most isolated places on Earth.
It's also been said it's a place with no purpose, but try telling that to the 150-odd folk on the weekend who found their way to the town, located between Marree and Coober Pedy, on the Oodnadatta Track, in South Australia's Far North.
The town's population peaked on Saturday for the 47th annual Gymkhana - an outback novelty racing carnival featuring horses and the occasional bit of dirt-bike racing.
Situated on the world's largest working cattle station, the 24,000sq km Anna Creek Station, the town is predictably full of swarming flies, outback salutes and red-dust wind gusts.
Race caller Nathan Keogh said the William Creek races was important for pastoralists, tourists and the raw and generous townsfolk who run the pub, general store, caravan park and airfield.
"It's good for people to come together to raise a bit of money for charity," Mr Keogh said.
"People have been around the district and gone away and come back again for the weekend, it's a good regional get-together."
Barossa Valley wine consultant Russell Johnson has attended the races for 28 years, taking the challenging two-day drive on red-dirt roads with a group of friends this year.
"It's the fundraising, it's the journey," Mr Johnson said of his attraction to the event.
"We swag it on the way up and on the way back. It's just the people here, it's superb."
Mr Johnson even formed a syndicate with four friends, calling themselves the Barossa Boys, and spent $250 to buy a horse to compete in the 800m William Creek Cup.
Most of the day's fundraising proceeds go to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
For the record, the main even was won by Aaron "Harry" Oldfield, riding Special Quilt.
Increased rainfall during the past three years, coupled with recent drenchings, gave the 1000m track a tinge of green amidst its heavy red dirt and dried mud.
"It's nearly as green as Randwick," pastoralist Tony Williams observed.
Well, not quite.
Mr Williams, whose family runs five properties in the Far North, won two events on the day's card.
"I think it's because I'm an old bastard and have done it for 38 years," he said.
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